Say Her Name – Four black lesbians were murdered in the space of a week over new year
Four lesbians and three children were brutally murdered within the space of a week in the United States over new year.
Shanta Myers, Brandi Mells, Jeremiah and Shanise
Lesbian couple Shanta Myers, 36, and Brandi Mells, 22, as well as Myers 11-year-old son Jeremiah and five-year-old daughter Shanise, were found on December 26.
Their bodies were discovered in their home in Troy, upstate New York and it is believed they were murdered five days earlier.
They were bound and their throats slashed.
““After being in this business for nearly 42 years, I can say I have not seen savagery like this,” police Chief John Tedesco told the Troy Record.
James W. White, 38, and Justin C. Mann, 24 were charged with on nine counts of first-degree murder and four counts of second-degree murder as well as robbery.
Police have not given a motive.
Myers’ eldest son, who is 15, was away in Massachusetts at the time.
The local church is working to support the community through the grieving.
“Kids are traumatized,” Pastor Robinson told the New York Post. “A few had nightmares since this happened.”
“We’ll try as hard as we can to understand, even though there is no justification for it.”
Kerrice Lewis, aged 23, was brutally murdered in Washington DC on December 28, shot, locked inside the boot of a car and the car set alight.
Police responded to gunshots, and found the car in flames.
Witnesses say she was heard screaming as she tried to escape from the car, but by the time emergency services got to her, “no signs consistent with life.”
According to her grandfather, William Sharp, Lewis was orphaned at eleven after her father was murdered and her mother died of a brain aneurysm.
She had struggled greatly with the loss of her parents and had served time in jail, but was trying to turn her life around.
He said she was a “free spirit” who “would light up a room.”
No one has yet been arrested in suspicion of the horrific killing.
Kaladaa Crowell and Kyra Inglett
Kaladaa Crowell, 36, and her 11-year-old daughter Kyra Inglett were shot in West Palm Beach, Florida on December 28.
Their murderer was 26-year-old Marlin Larice Joseph, the son of Crowell girlfriend, Robin Denson.
Joseph was tracked down and arrested on January 2. He had previously spent time in prison for for battery on a child
Denson said Crowell was “the sweetest person” who would “give the shirt off her back to help anybody.”
According to Crowell’s sister Kaarmel, Kyra was a “mama’s girl” who “thought she had to be her mom’s protector.”
Before his capture, Denson appealed to her son through a press conference to turn himself in.
“I want justice for my girlfriend and her daughter,” she said. “He’s my son and I love him, but I also loved them too.”
LGBT+ activists are condemning a lack of coverage and activism, pointing to a trend of lack of media concern in black LGBT+ women.
The Say Her Name hashtag was born in 2015, coined by the African American Policy Forum, out of a movement to recognise female victims of police brutality and anti-black violence.
“We have been seeing an increase in violence against members of the LGBTQ community since the end of the [presidential] election cycle,” Beverly Tillery, the executive director of the New York City Anti-Violence Project, told HuffPost.
People are calling to have violence against lesbians specifically traced, rather than just grouped in under the umbrella of anti- LGBT+ violence.
Sue Yacka-Bible, director of communications for GLAAD, said often police and media coverage present the violence as friends or roommates, erasing their lesbian identity and relationship.
“It’s really painful to their friends and loved ones,” Yacka-Bible said. “In a moment where they should be mourning, they’re angry about the misrepresentation. It doesn’t give them the ability to mourn them for who they are.”
Say. Her. Name.